When it comes to curiosity cred, no food that's been featured on Ripley's Believe it or Not! has anything to prove to anyone. Recognized food world authorities from Andrew Zimmern to Zagat have covered Mueller Chocolate Company and its chocolate-covered onions. Philly's oldest family-owned confectionery, the company began dipping onions in chocolate as a gag in the eighties. Two decades later, the company's commitment to a bit is beyond reproach, and the chocolate-covered oddities are mainstays at Chocolate By Mueller in Philly's Reading Terminal Market, having achieved iconic status with area natives and tourists alike.
Since opening in March 2015, Canadian restaurant AnnaLena has made quite a name for itself, and that attention is at least partially owed to having added this compelling item to its menu. The eatery, named for its chef owner's two grandmas, is known for working globally-inspired magic on British Columbian ingredients. For some visitors, the chocolate-covered fried chicken skin nestled among its dessert offerings is no exception.
It's no secret that chocolate's sweetness pairs nicely with a touch of spicy heat. Nuts.com has planted its flag in that knowledge in the form of Dark Chocolate-Covered Wasabi Peas. Known for their piquant kick and powerful crunch, the wasabi peas provide a fiery counterpoint to the smoother, sweet chocolate. Think of it as the food equivalent of a buddy cop movie duo: one, the hot-tempered loose cannon whose fire grows on you the longer you're exposed to it, and the other, a more mellow presence with a proven track record for being reliable and pleasant to interact with. You can sort out which is which for yourself.
Chocolate-Shoppe.com touts these as its newest seller. Here, everyone's favorite orange-dusted cheese puffs slip into a bath of premium Belgian chocolate before emerging as something far greater and stranger. The end result is a food item so curious, so gobsmacking on first sight, that attempts to explain or understand it are at once rendered moot. Such an item almost warrants some sort of comic book origin story to justify its existence; perhaps one that involves emerging from the aftermath of a lab accident that occurred under suspect circumstances, before dedicating itself to using its newly-acquired uniqueness to better mankind. And the best part of the story would be that they're also gluten-free.
Dried, shredded ika or cuttlefish might seem like one of the last items anyone would ever venture to dip in chocolate. Hawaii-based Big island Candies not only went there, but remains there, ready to initiate you into the experience of eating the chocolate-dipped squid treats that have come to be among its best sellers. For anyone who's ever experienced disappointment that their chocolate didn't taste or smell briny enough, or that their dried squid lacked a certain cacao-based je ne sais quois, the search is over.
We certainly couldn't compile a list on a topic like this without at least swinging by one county fair. The Costa Mesa OC Fair, Tulsa State Fair, and San Diego County Fair are three places known to have sold this item in recent years, and it will no doubt return with the warm season if it hasn't already. One can't help but wonder, gazing upon its milk chocolate dipped brilliance dotted with colorful sprinkles: does such an item speak more of guilty pleasure, or affront to nature? Or is it…both?
Leading Japanese snackmaker Calbee has been cranking out its crunchy "Kappa Ebisen" shrimp-flavored puffs since 1964. But because there's something to be said for keeping things interesting, recent years have seen the advent of multiple chocolate-covered iterations of the salty treats. Created in collaboration with premier chocolatiers like Lotte and Royce, these have come shrouded in forward-thinking blended varieties like pink strawberry chocolate and green matcha-flavored chocolate in addition to good ol' milk chocolate. And while more adventurous blended chocolate flavors have sometimes come and gone as limited runs, the chocolate-covered shrimp chip is clearly here to stay. This is made plain by the way they continue to fly off shelves at 7-Eleven stores throughout Asian countries like South Korea and Japan, as well as the occasional bag that turns up on eBay bearing a hilariously inflated price tag.
Among the more eyebrow-arching products available at online marketplace Thailand Unique (a company name that puts things mildly at best) is its line of candy-coated insects. Whether you like your grasshoppers gilded with cocoa products, or you wanna rock some chocolate, Big Cricket-style, they're all available there, where the oven-roasted likes of Chocolate Coated Sago Worms and Chocolate-Covered Silkworm Pupae share space with Yin Yang Chocolate-Covered Scorpions (sold in packages of two whole scorpions, one bathed in dark chocolate, the other in white). Drenching scorpions, worms, and grasshoppers in candy reduces their foreboding appearance hardly at all, making the eye of the beholder the best yardstick for whether it truly is what's inside that matters. Either way, none can dispute that this self-professed "edible bug supermarket" lives up to its claim in every way.